I have a wonderful guest with me today. Suzanne Jenkins, author of The Greeks of Beaubien Street, is going to tell you what it's like to self-publish and give you a few tips to help you if you decide to self-publish your book.
Thank you for this interview, Suzanne. You self-published your latest book, The Greeks of Beaubien Street. Would you please tell us why you chose the self-publishing route?
Thank you so much for having me. I chose to self-publish while I searched for an agent because I’m an older person. I don’t feel like I have years to waste waiting for someone to think my writing is worth taking a closer look at.
Take us through the process. You had an idea for your book, you wrote it, then you decided to find a publisher. What were your experiences with that? Or did you decide to self-publish without looking any further?
I researched the process of writing the query letters, sending the excerpt, doing the leg work to find an agent. It is very time consuming. I heard about Writersrelief.com and signed on with them so I could continue writing while they searched for me for several months. That experience was very positive; thanks to Writer’s Relief I have a short story appearing in a literary journal in the spring. I write and self-publish half the time and market the rest of the time. It doesn’t leave much time for querying agents. I don’t spend a lot time on finding an agent any longer.
What different online stores carry your book?
I sell exclusively on Amazon so I can take part in their KDP marketing. (Kindle Direct Publishing)
Do you think that having your book self-published makes any difference to the media? Are they open to interviewing self-published authors or reviewing their books?
I don’t think it makes much difference. I had a very positive interview on NPR in November. I’m shy so I avoid any mention of local Television, etc, although I understand the opportunities are available here. I’ve had great success with sending press releases to the papers in the area.
Authors who go the traditional route have an edge over self-published authors in regards to distribution to bookstores. How did you handle that as a self-published author?
I used my print on demand publisher, createspace.com to handle expanded distribution and that works well for me. I also advertised in the Kirkus Review Newsletter and sales increased for a time due to the ads.
On the other hand, self-published authors have the edge over traditional books in the regards that the author has all the control. I’d like to begin with your cover. Did you make it or did you have someone else design it? If you had someone else, can you tell us who it is?
I had very specific ideas for the cover. I bought the cover art in the form of photographs from shutterstock.com and then had a designer who works for Createspace do the work.
Did you get someone to format it for you or did you do that?
I had the publisher do everything.
What was the hardest challenge for you to self-publish your book?
The hardest thing and I failed with my first books, was getting it in perfect shape for publication. I was under the false assumption with my first two books that the editor would catch everything. It is the author’s responsibility. I’m in the process of reediting my first two books.
What steps are you taking to promote it?
I’m doing a virtual tour from Pumpupyourbooks.com which is key; the tour encompasses all of the elements of marketing including social media, blogger reviews and interviews. On my own, I do constant exposure on social media, especially Twitter. But the most important resource I’ve discovered is the book blogger. Thank you so much for the work you do. Without the book blogger, the self-published author has to really dig for reviews.
What has been the best marketing tool or method you have used that has resulted in the most sales?
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Free giveaways are absolutely crucial to my sales. It does sound like a contradiction. My books are series, so the hope is the reader will like them enough to keep buying the rest of the books. When I do a giveaway, I line up as many ebook promoters I can find who tweet and send email notifications to their followers. Also, booktweetingservice.com is essential when I do a giveaway.
Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other self-published authors?
Please enjoy the process! Don’t worry about rejection. If you can, ignore the bad reviews you may receive. (I alas, cannot, but hope to someday!) I can’t fail at this because I don’t have a plan B. I just can’t give up!
Visit Suzanne’s website at www.suzannejenkins.net.